Hamilton entrepreneur launches infant itch preventing garment

Entrepreneur Patricia McCormack has started The Little Kakapo, a business which sells baby clothing that helps children ...
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Entrepreneur Patricia McCormack has started The Little Kakapo, a business which sells baby clothing that helps children with eczema.

A new Hamilton business selling a bamboo garment that prevents infants from scratching eczema has launched.

The Little Kakapo opened for business last week, selling a garment that restricts babies from itching, pulling or thumb sucking.

According to Allergy New Zealand, eczema affects over 25 per cent of children in their first year.

Founder Patricia McCormack says her bamboo-fibre no scratch 'CalmMitts' will help parents manage their infant's skin issues. 

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As with many entrepeneurs, McCormack discovered what she considers a gap in the market through her own need.

Her child suffered from eczema, and McCormack struggled to prevent her scratching it overnight.

"It was that severe that she lost all of her hair, it was just horrendous. It's quite an anxious moment when you wake up in the morning and you see your baby at that stage.

"The only thing doctors would recommend was put socks on or put mittens on, that would only last a minute."

The garment is a front-buttoning top with no arm holes, seams along the arms, and no metal buttons. It's made from 100 per cent bamboo fibre.

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There are similar garments on the market but McCormack says they are not fit for purpose. She found garments without a front would twist and tighten when a baby rolled in its sleep. 

"I realised my kid was not an isolated case, and most families that have this problem face the same things."

The entrepeneur is also posting information for parents who have infants with skin conditions on The Little Kakapo website.

"It's to give people a little bit of an idea, how serious an issue is, translating the medical terms to some more understandable terms.

"I realised there's a lot of mixed information on the internet, some people tell you to do one treatment, others might not recommend it. And it's very confusing as a parent, if you don't know about it."

Barcelona born McCormack worked as a project manager in London before moving to Hamilton with her husband, a heart surgeon who took a job at Waikato Hospital.

Prior to moving to New Zealand, McCormack saw a documentary about the kakapo that inspired her the branding for her new business.

"Asides from it being a very cute parrot, I find it as vulnerable as children are. It's a symbol of New Zealand, and some people in New Zealand don't know about it."

After she makes a return on her investment, McCormack hopes to contribute to the Department of Conservation's kakapo recovery efforts.

"We are going slowly, but step-by-step."

McCormack says she will next look to design products to aid tube-fed children.

 - Stuff

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